Researchers at the University of Cambridge, who have undertaken a forest monitoring effort using unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to monitor tropical forests for signs of recovery, have turned to colleagues in the medical imaging field to advance their big data challenge.
The researchers in the Department of Plant Sciences are working in Kenya on a project funded by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative Fund. Their colleagues in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, working on a cancer targeting project, saw the similarities. The result is the development of mathematical algorithms that combine data sets, registering and then segmenting them into objects of interest.
The forestry mapping effort combines airborne imagery, light detection and ranging technology for tree height, and hyperspectral imagery for vegetation classification and health. Bringing the data sets together, along with Global Positioning System data, allows the team to map the forest tree by tree, over time, and in three dimensions.
The research appeared recently in Cambridge University’s Research Horizons.